The 2019-20 NBA season is rolling and we have a huge slate this Friday.
On every big slate this season, PlayPicks is providing our top bets against the spread and against point totals for all the NBA games.
Injuries can always play a factor into the point spreads listed by US sportsbooks like DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook in the NBA. Keep an eye on the status of star players with any sort of nagging injury or “load management” concerns as well.
In this column, we will list three of our best bets against the spread with data to support our picks. Then, we will list the following games on the NBA slate in order of our confidence in analyzing the matchup.
Keep in mind that lines can often shift when players are announced out due to rest or injury.
NBA January 31 Best Bets
Toronto Raptors (-4) at Detroit Pistons
Sportsbooks are offering a discount on the Raptors tonight because they failed to cover a 10-point spread in Cleveland last night and are obviously on short rest on the road. Yet a short trip to Detroit shouldn’t stop the defending champs, which is now healthy and one of the deepest teams in the NBA.
Toronto owns the second-best net rating (10.6) with the fifth-best offensive rating (116.4) during an 8-game win streak and the Pistons are 3-5 with a middling 111.7 defensive rating during that span. Detroit is 1-3 with a -4.4 net rating over its last 4 home games and has dropped 4 straight by an average of 12 PPG. The Raptors beat former coach Dwane Casey and the Pistons by 12 and 13 points last season. Toronto is 20-13 ATS when listed as favorites and a stellar 27-2 straight up against teams with losing records, their sole defeats coming against Blazers and Spurs teams that are more dangerous than their records suggest.
Oklahoma City Thunder (-1) at Phoenix Suns
On Wednesday, OKC was an easy pick as slight favorites in Sacramento and oddsmakers are tempting us with another small line in a game the Thunder should win at Phoenix. This team has been dynamite since Billy Donovan embraced his three-guard lineups in early December. OKC is 18-6 since Dec. 16 and has amazingly covered in 11 straight road games. Phoenix is only 10-14 ATS at home and 5-10 ATS with a rest advantage.
Devin Booker is carrying the Suns offense, but a cold shooting night from him would completely doom Phoenix, while OKC has three different guards capable of creating and scoring. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should do a decent job defending Booker, who is only averaging 19.5 PPG on 38.8% FG shooting over his last 4 meetings with Billy Donovan‘s Thunder. The Suns have depended on late surges to win or cover, as they rank fifth in second-half PPG this season, but OKC is notably allowing the second-fewest PPG (24.2) in fourth quarters and is fourth overall in defensive rating on the road this season.
Portland Blazers (+13) at Los Angeles Lakers
The sentimentality of this game makes it tough to recommend hammering the line in Portland’s favor, but clearly this spread is too big if we consider the matchup from a strictly basketball standpoint. The Blazers are playing very well right now and Damian Lillard is the hottest scorer on the planet with averages of 36.3 PPG and 8.4 APG while shooting 45.3% from long range over his last 10 games. He’s sporting a 130 offensive rating in January and is fresh off his first career triple double in which he left the Rockets defense helpless by hitting a few 40-footers to force them to guard him near halfcourt.
The Lakers are playing on a ton of rest, but are a modest 6-4 ATS with a rest advantage and are 18-20-1 ATS as favorites this season. They went 3-3 with a -3.1 net rating over their last 6 games prior to the Kobe tragedy. While there will be plenty of emotion for LeBron James and company, the Blazers also have guys who could be inspired such as C.J. McCollum and the newly acquired Trevor Ariza, a longtime Laker. The Lakers shouldn’t let a win slip away on this emotional night, but covering 13 points against a hot offensive team is a lot to ask.
NBA January 31 Picks Against The Spread
Milwaukee Bucks (-9.5) vs Denver Nuggets
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been off for nearly a week and the Nuggets had to battle a tough Jazz team last night before traveling to the toughest place in the NBA to play.
Dallas Mavericks (+9.5) at Houston Rockets
Luka Doncic (ankle) is doubtful tonight, which has moved this spread down to 10 points in some spots. Yet the Mavs beat the Bucks without Doncic and a G League team could stay competitive with the Rockets as long as James Harden is shooting under 25% from 3-point range.
Memphis Grizzlies (+5.5) at New Orleans Pelicans
The Grizzlies are right at home against the uptempo, fast-paced style that the Pelicans play.
Brooklyn Nets (-5.5) vs Chicago Bulls
The Bulls won’t have the offensive firepower required to keep pace with a Nets team that has an inspired Kyrie Irving back in the lineup.